C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Passing on Two Bells!

We encountered the early morning Defuskee Ferry just after departing the anchorage.  In a southern draw distorted by the VHF the ferry captain requested we pass on “two bells”.  Uncertain of the Captain’s intentions we slowed and let the ferry initiate the pass.   The ferry made an obvious turn to the east and placed us on it’s starboard side.  Like a couple on the dance floor we followed the lead and shifted slightly to the west.  And thus we passed starboard to starboard or on two bells.  Despite being tested on these rules for my captain’s license, when, Anne, asked me to explain sound signals for passing vessels, I was unable confidently provide an answer. Guess it is time for a refresher…

I pulled our copy of One Minute Guide To Nautical Rules of the Road off the bookshelf and read aloud the chapter on sound signals while Anne steered.
For meeting on in-shore waters –One bell signals an intention to pass port side to port side.  Two bells signal an intention to pass starboard to starboard.
When one vessel overtakes another vessel on in-shore waters – One bell signals that the overtaking vessels intends to pass the stand on (slower) vessel on the port side and two bells signals a starboard pass.

In international waters the wording of the rules is a bit different.  At this point Anne gave up simply listening to me read aloud.  I took over the helm as she set about creating paper boat models and figuring out this whole one bell, two bell system. 

 When confused on the sound signals, I’ll now refer to Anne as my resource. 

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